TEHRAN – A documentary featuring director Ali Rafiei’s skills in staging Federico Garcia Lorca’s “The House of Bernarda Alba” premiered on Wednesday evening at the Iranian Artists Forum.The premiere of “Behind the Walls of This House” directed by Leila Jafari was part of the forum’s program for Rafiei’s 84th birthday celebration, which was attended by his friends and the cast and crew of the play he directed at Tehran’s Vahdat Hall in December 2018.
The documentary features how “The House of Bernarda Alba” was produced as the last work to have been staged by Rafiei.
Producer Setareh Eskandari and Jafari have previously said that the documentary can be a useful source of information for students and theater enthusiasts.
In this documentary, Rafiei says that “The House of Bernarda Alba” is about Franco’s dictatorship and it is still a universal truth over 70 years since it was written. “Garcia Lorca talks about the dearth of love in that era and the violence in the play results from the dearth of love.”
He also explained that he has never compromised on any play he has staged, and added, “I have tried to create a special atmosphere for each play and have focused on the aesthetics of each play that have to be presented on stage.”
The cast and crew also published a statement for Rafiei’s birthday celebration, which was read by Eskandari.
“Your birthday is a sign of the light’s victory over the darkness as you always have said that life conquers death,” the statement read.
“‘Behind the Walls of This House’ represents what you taught us, the sweet experience of working in the group of ‘The House of Bernarda Alba’, whose leader was you and still keeps the light of house of theater on; a house that you holds its light,” the statement added.
Rafiei received loud, sustained applause when he appeared on the stage.
In his short emotional speech, Rafiei said, “I was not ready to do anything except talking; I had not thought about it at all.”
“At present, I’m suffering from a bad back. If I work on a play I never feel any pain. Let the speech remain to be delivered at some other time after staging another play,” he concluded
Iranian Artists Forum director Majid Rajabi-Memar also delivered a short speech and said the halls of the forum’s Iranshahr Theater Complex welcome any plan by Rafiei to stage a play.
Photo: Director Ali Rafiei (C) and “The House of Bernarda Alba” cast members pose with a poster for “Behind the Walls of This House” before the premiere of the documentary at the Iranian Artists Forum in Tehran on January 12, 2022. (IAF/Leila Ebrahimi)
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